England relaxed its lockdown restrictions by allowing with outdoor meetings and activities for the first time in months.
From Monday, people were allowed to meet outside in groups of six. Outdoor sports facilities such as swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts reopened, with social distancing measures in place.
The moves are part of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s road map for exiting the national lockdown, which was enforced in England on January 4.
His plan is underpinned by a swift vaccine rollout which has seen more than 30 million people receive a first dose in the UK.
“Despite today’s easements, everyone must continue to stick to the rules, remember hands, face, space, and come forward for a vaccine when called,” Johnson said.
“We must remain cautious, with cases rising across Europe and new variants threatening our vaccine rollout.”
Many restrictions are still in place in England. Pubs, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, theatres, museums and stadiums, for instance, remain closed.
People are also being urged to keep working from home where possible, and overseas holidays are illegal.
Foreign travel is permitted for a handful of reasons, however, such as attending a funeral, or for medical needs.
The devolved governments Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are taking similar steps.